Many years ago, there were just a few dog foods on the market. Many people fed their dog table scraps. The commercial dog foods on the market were cheap and made without much concern for nutritional content. That’s all changed. The wide range of dog food nowadays makes it difficult for new dog owners to determine what is the average cost of dog food per year.
Based on our own research of various online pet stores, the average cost of dog food per year varies between $205 to $1440. Factors that you have to consider includes, the size and age of your dog, how much he eats in a year, how many dogs you own and the quality and healthiness of the ingredients of the food you feed him.
Today, we have available a wide variety of dog foods within a broad range of price, dry/wet form, and nutritional value. It is hard to give a meaningful answer to what is the average cost of dog food per year? It’s like asking what’s the average cost of a car.
Read on as we delve more into some research and statistics done on the cost of dog food in the market.
How Much Does Dog Food Cost Per Pound?
One survey reported on the average price per pound of 22 most popular brands in 20-pound bags. The prices ranged from $1.07 to $3.58 per pound. The average price of all brands is $1.75 per pound.
A current trend is toward grain-free dog foods deemed to be healthier. However, the jury is out on grain-free health benefits. If the grain is replaced with other more unhealthy ingredients then grain-free food is not more healthy.
In 2019, the FDA released a report that raised concerns about grain-free diets. It reported incidents of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) among dogs eating grain-free food.[Source]
It should be noted, however, that the studied labels listed first t0 main ingredients were vegetables or potato before vitamins and minerals.
It is not yet clear how the FDA report will be judged by experts or received by consumers. The best advice is to buy dog food that contains neither grains nor unhealthy replacements or fillers. That way there is no question.
Purchases of grain-free dog food of all brands increased significantly in the last few years. It now comprises 42% of all dog food purchases. But it is much more expensive. The average price of all brands of grain-free dog food is $2.48 per pound compared to $1.75 for all brands.
Our Personal Experience With Dog Food
Over the past 35 years, we have had 6 dogs. The first four we fed what we thought were very healthy brands from pet stores. Early on, we bought into the grain-free diet trend. We bought grain-free food even though they were more expensive.
Three of the four died of cancer. It turns out we were feeding them grain-free food with potato or other filler substitutes for the grain. Potato is starch that turns to sugar that can contribute to cancer in dogs.
With our fifth dog, a Bishon, we fed him natural grain-free foods free of unhealthy fillers. He died in early 2021 after 19 years of a healthy cancer-free life.
But the food was expensive. It all depends on how much value there is in having your dog around for a long time. There is a cost of long life.
Our Pooka, in his last years, was blind and deaf, but otherwise in good health and enjoyed our loving companionship and comfort. Nevertheless, he was ready to go. But it was his decision, not ours.
[Related Article: Wet Dog Food VS Dry Food: What Are The Pros And Cons?]
How Much Is A Months Worth Of Dog Food?
We buy most of our dog food from Chewy. We don’t endorse Chewy over any other fine dog food vendors.
Depending on the brand, type of dog food and size of your dog, a month worth of dog food can cause between $35 – $85.
But Woof Whiskers did a 2019 study of the costs of Chewy dog food brands published in Petfood Industry.com.
They reported that a bag of dog food sold on Chewy costs an average of $49.49 taking into account all sizes and ingredients. The average price per pound was $2.19 for more than 1,300 varieties surveyed.
The least expensive brand was Kibbles’n Bts at $22.99 for a 50-pound bag ($0.46 per pound). They offered more than 20 brands costing less than $0.75 per pound.
Some of the most expensive products were sold by Royal Canin which tops $50 per pound.
How Much Should I Budget For My Dog Per Year?
We buy our grain-free, filler-free, freeze-dried natural food from Chewy.com for much less than $50 per pound but I’m embarrassed to tell you what we pay.
Fortunately, we have a small dog (Maltipoo) that is very healthy and will probably outlive me. We mix it with fresh ground chicken which he likes. He doesn’t eat more than a 14 oz bag of expensive stuff in a month. So a large dog will cost a lot more to feed than a small one.
We have done our research with a few reputable online pet stores which show the following for different categories:
- Dry Dog Food – $300 to $1440 per year for a 30-pound bag per month.
- Wet Dog Food – $205 to $400 for a 90oz per month
- Frozen Raw Food – $911.40 to $1,163.88 per year for a 10 pounds bag per month.
- Dog Treats – $132 – $933.12 for a 3 pounds bag per month
- Dog Vitamins – $36 – $149.88 for 30 counts per month
For the above results, some variables we look at includes a minimum of 4 stars customer rating and above in chewy and assuming you are buying for a healthy adult dog which is of medium or large size.
Food costs for basic nutrition are not the only probable expenditure. Treats can cost more than $2 per bag for grain-free treats from a dog bakery. Also, the average dog owner spends $77 per year on dog vitamin supplements.
Based on the data above, it is safe to assume you need to set aside between $373 to $2,523 for your dog per year including dog food, treats and vitamin supplements.
[Related Article: How To Transition To Raw Dog Food For Your Hungry Pup?]
Having a dog can be expensive depending on many factors including the breed and size of your dog plus the brand and ingredients you want to feed your dog,
You should do plenty of research about your dog breed’s proclivity for food allergies and other health tendencies that might be impacted by the food you feed them
Then do extensive research about every dog food you consider. For years we thought all grain-free dog foods were good for our dogs. Little did we know that all grain-free foods are not the same healthy food. More research might have educated us otherwise.